Eltuek Receives Award for Excellence in Architect

The design team behind the Eltuek Arts Centre in Sydney, NS has been recognized with a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Architecture.

The design team behind the Eltuek Arts Centre in Sydney, NS has been recognized with a Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Excellence in Architecture.

The awards, presented annually by the Nova Scotia Association for Architects and Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, celebrate architectural achievements in the province and the way in which good architecture brings well-being to those who spend time in these thoughtfully designed spaces.

The building’s design team was comprised of Architect of Record Spyro Trifos, NSAA, FRAIC, LEED AP BD+C, of Trifos Design Consultants (Sydney, NS) and Design Architect Joe Lobko, OAA / FRAIC / LEED AP BD+C, Partner, DTAH (Toronto, ON).

In presenting the award to the design team, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor remarked that, “the strength of this project is the broad community that imagined it, made it happen, and will now carry it forward. The energy and wisdom of New Dawn Enterprises, and the Elders Advisory Committee from the Island’s five Mi’kmaw communities will assure that the Eltuek Art Centre remains welcoming, affordable and relevant to the artists and the community. The community’s vision and commitment from the very beginning should be recognized.”

On receiving the award, Trifos noted, “our firm is honoured and privileged to have shared this special journey of discovery and rebirth of one of Sydney’s finest landmark, historic buildings with New Dawn Enterprises and DTAH.”

“What a privilege it has been to be part of the team assembled by New Dawn to bring about the revitalization of this important community building,” says Lobko. “The quality of workmanship evident in the renewed structure is testament to the commitment of everyone involved in helping to deliver the final shape and character of the place.”

Eltuek (pronounced el-du-ehg), meaning “we are making (it) together” was the name bestowed on the new arts space by its five Mi’kmaw Elder Advisors in a naming ceremony in late 2021. The (it) refers to that which is made in and around the building – art, ideas, a shared meal, friendship, music, community, a brighter future.

Eltuek Arts Centre opened in February 2020 in the former Holy Angels Convent (ca. 1895). It was purchased by New Dawn Enterprises in 2012 and the 130-year-old building is the largest adaptive reuse of built heritage in Unama’ki (Cape Breton). It is now home to 20 private artist studios, an Open Studio for shared artist workspaces, gallery and exhibition spaces, the Better Bite Café and Meals on Wheels, Nova Scotia Community College Music Arts Program, Celtic Colours International Festival, NovaStream, and The Coast 89.7 FM Radio Station.

“The design and rebuilding of this space has allowed us to be witness to the ability of our community to imagine a different kind of future here,” says Erika Shea, President and CEO of New Dawn Enterprises. “The collaborative process of bringing about this physical transformation was one characterized by generosity, humility, creativity, and community wisdom. We are grateful for this significant recognition and honoured to host such a beautiful, vibrant space”.

Other award recipients this year include Susan Fitzgerald for the Marine Drive Academy, Hip Boathouse and Dovecote by Jane Abbott Brown Architects, B2 Lofts by MacKay Lyons Sweetapple Architects, and the Monocular by RHAD Architects. Past recipients include the new Halifax Central Library, NSCAD University on Granville Street, and the Seaport Farmer’s Market.